What are the real benefits of switching to electric vehicles in cities?
We believe that electromobility is a solution to air and noise pollution in cities, and helps reduce overall CO2 emissions.
Electric trucks are silent, cleaner, and more efficient than combustion engine vehicles.
Regardless of any restrictions implemented in urban areas, electric trucks also reduce traffic congestion in cities, since they can be used during off-peak hours for silent deliveries.
Truck manufacturers promise to cut significantly CO2 emissions through electric trucks. Can we believe them?
Yes, the manufacturers are right: electric trucks do not produce any CO2 emissions in operation.
This is true. However, the production of energy to recharge electric vehicle batteries can emit CO2, depending on the production mode - fossil fuels (coal, gas, or petroleum), renewable energy (hydroelectric, solar, or wind power), or nuclear power. In Europe, where electricity is largely decarbonized, switching from a combustion engine to an electric vehicle can bring about a three- or four-fold reduction in CO2 emissions, depending on the country’s energy mix.
If all transporters in cities switched to electric power, what would the ecological balance look like?
That kind of estimate could only be theoretical, because each truck’s fuel consumption depends on its load, itinerary, number of stops, the driver’s technique, the weather, etc. Similarly, CO2 emissions from the electricity contained in the batteries varies greatly depending on the country and its energy mix.
Nevertheless, some comparisons are possible. For example, since a garbage truck makes many stops and has a heavy load, it consumes a great deal of fuel and emits large quantities of CO2 - on average, 159 kg for each daily round of 72 km.
In comparison, an equivalent electric vehicle, for the same task in Europe, only emits an average of 36.9 kg of CO2, which is 75% less.
The environmental impact is not limited to greenhouse gases. Do electric trucks emit particulate matter?
If we just look at the motor, an electric truck’s propulsion system do not produce pollutant emissions. However, if we take the truck in its entirety, regardless of its energy source (gas, diesel, electric, biofuel), it does emit fine particles resulting from the friction of tires on the road or the brake pad abrasion. These emissions are not specific to trucks: all vehicles, even two-wheelers such as bicycles, produce particles in operation and during braking.
Despite that, today electric trucks are the best solution to cut down the pollutant emissions and especially particles.
There is a lot of talk about the impact of battery production on the environment. What is Renault Trucks’ position on this topic?
Battery production is not neutral. Indeed, it consumes a great deal of electricity. Here again, it all depends on the country in which the batteries are produced, and how far along it is in its energy transition.
But the impact of batteries is not limited to their production. At Renault Trucks, we are mindful of the batteries' lifespan and we apply the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Reduce: through our knowledge of customers and our electromobility expertise to use the appropriate number of batteries.
- Reuse: with solutions to extend battery life through other uses, such as storing solar power or making homes energy self-sufficient.
- Recycling: battery recycling makes it possible to recover 99% of the material and reuse it to produce new batteries.
How can I personally contribute to a virtuous cycle in logistics, particularly in city centres?
More and more people are becoming aware of ecological issues and are adopting better practices in terms of consumption, waste reduction, and transport.
Furthermore, while they expect city administrators to become more ecologically responsible, they don’t always understand the impact of the delivery of our consumer goods in cities.
By supporting electromobility, they are completing the virtuous cycle of their daily efforts and contributing to the European Union’s objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 as compared to 1990 levels.